All About Tree(s)!

Greensboro’s weather is likely one of the most indecisive forces I have encountered. My free time during the beautiful weather last week was wrapped up in labs and meetings, so I did not get a chance to go on my weekly walk. We then entered a prolonged period of dropping temperatures and constant, cold rain (despite the groundhog predictions for an early spring) Luckily, I was able to find a short period of time without the rain to step out and take a closer look at what I’d begun exploring last time.

This was a short adventure, but I had a chance to see three different kinds of trees all within a few yards of each other. Just a brief disclaimer: I am nowhere near an expert of identifying natural features by name, but I decided to do some research, step out of my comfort zone, and make some educated guesses (confirmed in part by an Eagle scout).

When you first enter the woods, immediately behind the lake there are several diverse species. In the winter,  all the brown leaves on the ground provide the same crunch and the trees seem to blend together without their colorful foliage. This meant that I had to look around me for clues and at the trees themselves more closely.

The first thing I took pictures of to research later were the barks. I looked at two different trees that I didn’t identify right away, and documented pictures of their bark to study later. After further questioning and looking around, I learned that they were Loblolly (or potentially longleaf?) pines and oak trees.

The crowns of the pines; these trees can grow to be over 100 ft. tall!

Since there weren’t leaves on the trees for me to look at, I took a photo of the forest floor, although the moss takes up the majority of the photograph. Within the jumble of fallen, dried up leaves you can spot the distinctive lobed oak leaves as well as the more entire, slightly toothed beech leaves, and even pine needles scattered around. I normally tend to, quite literally, overlook the leaves and vegetation scattered around in the woods, which leads to me missing out on some important features that could allow me to learn more about the woods as a whole.

The last kind of tree I had spotted was an American Beech. While I saw its characteristic leaves on the ground, it took me a second to look around and find one of their sources. All three of the tree species I spotted today have the capacity to grow to great heights, which explains the towering nature of this area of the woods. As I walked around with my hands in my pockets thanks to the near freezing temperature, I figured that most of the animals had likely scurried away to the warmth of their homes. I decided to start walking back inside to preserve my own warmth. While it was nice to step outside into a peaceful environment and spend some time alone, I’m looking forward to warmer days!

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